Report: Belles 1 Forest 3

Doncaster Rovers Belles put in an improved performance against Nottingham Forest but conceded too cheaply to get anything out of the game.

This was the Belles’ best chance yet to get their first points in the FA WNL Northern Premier League, with Forest winless since the opening day of the season, but they were unable to seize the opportunity.

Sophia Bonser put the visitors ahead less than a minute into the game, beating Emily Batty from close range after the Belles failed to deal with a cross from the right.

Donny skipper Izzy Whittle levelled things back up on 26 minutes, exploiting Forest’s dithering over Sheldon Ashton’s through ball to steal in ahead of the goalkeeper and score with her weaker right foot.

Batty was forced into action six minutes later, coming off her line superbly to smother Katie Middleton’s shot.

Another Whittle chance from a through ball – this time provided by Georgia Marshall – came and went, with the midfielder unable to direct the ball towards goal.

Forest fired a warning shot on 49 minutes, with Batty tipping Kelly Darby’s powerful header onto the crossbar.

Less than seven minutes later, Forest were 3-1 up. Charlotte Griffin got the first, the smallest player on the pitch going unmarked at a corner and directing a header into the far top corner.

A Lois Scholefield own goal gave them the other, with the defender unfortunate to turn the ball into her own net after Batty had again saved a Middleton one-on-one.

The Belles were given the chance to pull once back from the spot on 66 minutes after a Whittle shot was handled in the box, but Forest keeper Emily Hallam guessed the right direction and saved Emily Burgin’s penalty with ease.

Forest again hit the bar with a free kick on 75 minutes, with Bonser’s strike bouncing off the upright and over.

Whittle again proved herself an unlikely goal threat late on, forcing Hallam to tip a 20-yard drive away from the top corner and over the bar.